VoIP Guide and Tips

Your VoIP Guide for Home and Business

VoIP Standards Overview

VoIP is a new technology and still does not have universal standards. This makes it difficult for network managers to integrate the products obtained from different vendors. In the absence of standards, vendors come out with proprietary standards that make interoperability a difficult proposition for enterprises. This is where the “standards bodies” come into the picture. These bodies are made up of the inventors, developers, vendors who have an interest in a particular technology.

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the Internet Society define VoIP standards. The ITU has its headquarters in Geneva and was established in the 1860’s in order to develop standards for telegraph communications. The ITU is divided into ITU-R, ITU-T, and ITU-D. These are the Radio Communication Sector, the Telecommunications Standardization Sector, and the Telecommunications Development Sector, respectively. The ISDN and ATM standards for telecommunications have been developed by ITU-T. The standards can be identified on the basis of a letter that is assigned to a particular aspect of that technology. ITU-T standards that begin with H relate to audiovisual and multimedia. VoIP is covered under this group of standards. ITU-T standards can be viewed online. The Internet Society has been involved in issues related to the Internet since 1992. It concentrates more on packet switching and data transmission issues.

The Internet Society also works as small groups such as the Internet Architecture Board (IAB), Internet Research Task Force (IRTF), Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), etc. Internet Standards, also known as Request for Comments or RFC documents are developed by the IETF. Some well-known RFCs include the Hypertext Transmission Protocol (HTTP), RFC 2616, and the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), RFC 3261. Organizations such as the American National Standards Institute and the European National Standards Institute also influence standards but at a less broad level.

A company that wishes to implement VoIP should try and get an understanding of the standards that govern their VoIP devices and applications. This is because applications that follow the ITU-T specifications may have different networking and architecture issues than those that follow the IETF standards. Knowledge of the standards will help in making the right product decisions and also help to solve interoperability issues.

VoIP Security Issues

VoIP undoubtedly has the potential to effect huge savings on call charges, infrastructure, and maintenance. However, it still has to assure IT administrators that it can offer a level of security similar to that offered by traditional telephony. The concerns arise from the fact that VoIP uses Ethernet and is therefore susceptible to DoS, interception, spamming, etc.

As compared to data networks, phone systems may be difficult to patch. VoIP phones are susceptible to Address Resolution Protocol spoofing that can lead to illegal tapping and crashing of the VoIP phone. According to tests conducted by Secure Test, the Cisco 7900 series phones are vulnerable when running the default Skinny protocol and can be crashed easily.

An attacker can use a PC attached to the VoIP network and send a stream of malformed messages that can result in a buffer overflow and crash the instrument. If such an attack were to be performed on a switchboard network, it would be possible for an attacker to disable the network in a matter of minutes. VoIP enables routers are also susceptible to DoS attacks. A large message in which the number of characters exceeds 50,000 can sometimes cause every phone on the VoIP network to reboot.

Prevention of tapping in PSTN networks is more a question of maintaining physical security whereas VoIP data, if unencrypted, can be intercepted by any other phone on the network. It is important that VoIP phones support the secure RTP protocols required to ensure default encryption of data. The attacks on a VoIP network can be carried out remotely with the help of Trojans that may be distributed via a PC connected to the VoIP network.

The Ever Growth of VoIP

In 2006, more than 66% of the Global 2000 companies will implement VoIP. At present there are close to 400 VoIP only providers in the US and even network vendors, including the RBOCs are now providing IP options. Cost reduction achieved by running voice traffic on packet-switched networks is the main reason for companies switching over to VoIP.

Savings on toll-charges, shifting, operating expenses are possible with VoIP. However, it must be borne in mind that the capital cost of IP applications is not very low, even if the VoIP network is hosted by a third party, it does not automatically translate into savings. New applications such as unified messaging and instant messaging can be implemented in a smooth manner by converging voice and data networks. This is a big reason for companies to migrate to IP-driven networks.

The advantages offered by the new applications and improvements in IP PBXs resulting in better security and QoS are an attraction for many companies. These developments, which keep cost in mind, are helping in bridging the disconnect between customer needs and vendor marketing, which had occurred initially because vendors approached the issue of VoIP adoption from a technology perspective.

To encourage companies to adopt VoIP without losing out on their investment in the existing systems, vendors are offering hybrid IP systems that allow a gradual convergence. Thus, companies need not wait for their existing equipment to come to the end of its life-cycle. In Illinois, the village of Lombard deployed an IP telephony network purchased from Cisco. The network consisted of Cisco switches, unity voice mail, dual Call managers and around 240 IP phones. The village has around 42,000 residents and has used the IP system to connect the Village Hall, the police station, fire station and the water works department. The village of Lombardy is an example of a community or organization that wants to do away with its existing system and is in a good position to employ VoIP from scratch.

In order to achieve a truly converged network, network monitoring and balancing of the traffic need to be managed. To this end, the enhanced remote monitoring diagnostics offered by Avaya should be of help. The migration to a VoIP-enabled network should happen on a large scale in the next few years because the existing networks installed around the year 2000 will be coming to the end of their lifecycle. The onus is on the IP- systems vendors to ensure that the transition for its customers is as smooth as possible.

VoIP Codecs 101

Coders/decoders (Codecs) are used by VoIP networks for converting analog voice signals into digital pulses and then reconvert the digital pulses into analog signals. In order to communicate, the codecs have to be compatible with each other. The algorithms that the codecs use for conversion of the data streams affect the quality of voice as well as the bandwidth consumption.

The solutions to algorithm usage are either proprietary or covered by international standards, where everyone has access to the algorithms. Pulse Code Modulation (PCM) was responsible for the development of the T-carrier systems that are used even today. PCM could yield a data rate of 64 Kbps. The signal was sampled in two ways, Mu-Law in the US and Japan and A-Law in Europe. Both these forms of sampling allowed for a high resolution as the discrete levels were apportioned logarithmically and not linearly.

Recommendation G.711 has been instituted by the ITU in 1988 and is the standardized form of the PCM encoding. PCM does not eliminate the redundancy in the signals, which can result in a high data output rate unsuitable for certain situations, especially when there is a bandwidth constraint. This is the reason why several speech algorithms have attempted to reduce the data rate. Reduction in data rate by half can double the call-carrying capacity of the given bandwidth. G.722.1, G.723.1, G.726, etc are codec standards that reduce the bandwidth requirements. Their data rates are 24/32, 5.3/6.3, 16/24/32/40 Kbps, respectively.

Apart from these open standards, there are proprietary algorithms that may or may not offer an advantage over the ITU-defined algorithms. However, they can tie a business to their implementation for the economic life-cycle of the VoIP system.

Security Tips for Wireless Networks

The increased use of wireless networks has necessitated security of the back-end as well as the front-end. The concept of end-to-end security makes it necessary that companies first define their security objectives before allocating resources for the deployment of firewalls, encryption, anti-spam, anti-viruses, etc.

The continuous merger of technologies enables interoperability and allows employees to stay connected. At the same time it also increases the possibilities for the transfer of viruses. A comprehensive security policy should be implemented. The policy should cover issues such as permissions, upgrades, access, breaches, etc.

802.1x technologies offer security because access to the WLAN possible only if the user possesses an authentication key. The technology works in environments that have both wired and wireless networks. Encrypting data like customer information, company data, etc helps to maintain privacy even if a mobile device is stolen or misplaced. For highly critical data, a 128-bit encryption key is preferred in the industry. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) should be used with the VPNs in order to authorize access to sensitive applications. Thus, as marketing personnel do not need to know customer credit card numbers, their access to the credit card database can be blocked.

Endpoint scanning technology is useful for recognizing the wired and wireless devices accessing a network. Remote devices trying to access an enterprise network may introduce viruses into the network. This is because very often the devices are owned by individuals who may use them without security protection and in doing so may pick up viruses. Wireless devices should have some kind of challenge to offer, such as PIN or password or both, before granting access. A two-step authentication provides greater security for larger organizations.

Security should be tested regularly and remote devices should be used to make hack attempts. Security efforts should be monitored for compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley. Security managers need to stay updated regarding the latest developments in network security.

How to Go Wireless With VoIP ?

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Before you decide to go wireless or not, there are many points to consider. You may be asking yourself if wireless is for you. Well, today, many people are asking themselves the same question. If you watch the headline news, you are bound to see stories involving mergers, federal regulations, and new tax rules.

This all points to the fact that VoIP has made a definite impression on American citizens and is here to stay. It may be difficult for some people to remove the telephone cords from their homes; we have depended on them for over 100 years. But once many people take the time to weigh the pros and the cons, most choose to go wireless. Here are some reasons, why you should make the switch to wireless.

1. Wireless Creates a Faster Network

Wireless networks are fast. With VoIP, you can create a network that incorporates data, audio, video, and computer web features. You can easily monitor your network for problems and troubleshooting is much simpler with web based applications rather than hardware applications. VoIP uses less bandwidth than other applications and this in the long run saves money. This is of special value to businesses. Businesses can also provide better customer service with integrated programs. Not only does this increase productivity, but also it saves time and money in the long run.

2. VoIP Saves You Money

Overall, VoIP is much more inexpensive then PSTN. You simply pay for your Internet service, and then whichever VoIP provider you choose. For a one time monthly fee, you can have unlimited local and long distance phone calls. You will need to check with the VoIP service provider that you choose for exact details on their rates. Sometimes, your VoIP service provider will allow free calls within the world to another computer, yet there may be a fee for calls worldwide to a landline phone. Always check with your chosen service provider for exact details regarding your chosen plan. Included in many VoIP service plans are free features.

These features include Voicemail, Caller ID, Call Waiting, Do Not Disturb, and more. Again, check with your chosen service provider for an overview of all the features bundled with your plan. The biggest benefit is the unlimited long distance calling. This has proven to be the number one reason why most businesses are switching to VoIP. For businesses such as sales or jobs that have mobile employees, these benefits go without saying. But overall, the average cost of VoIP is considerably less when compared to the cost of PSTN.

3. VoIP Enables you to Talk with More than One Person at a Time

With VoIP, you can talk with more than one person without paying extra for services such as three way calling. With VoIP you can have more than three people on the phone at once. VoIP is the perfect solution for those who want to explore the features of conference calls. This is very important for businesses that have employees overseas. By using the video conferencing features, employers will increase their productivity.

4. Enjoy Greater Flexibility

By using VoIP, you can take your VoIP equipment with you whenever you travel. Your VoIP service provider will send you a converter that will allow you to use your converter with any standard telephone. The converter comes programmed with your telephone number, allowing you to take your phone and phone number with you worldwide. All you will need is a high speed Internet connection and you can use your VoIP phone service. This is of extreme benefit to mobile employees.

No longer are outdated telecommunications systems necessary, or are employees trying to run businesses on prepaid cell phone plans. By using VoIP, an employee will have access to his/her phone number, wherever they are located. Whether out of state, in a hotel, or traveling on a business trip, customers will be able to call the same number as well as leave voice mail on the employee's computer.

5. You can Save Money for Family and Friends by Choosing Your Area Code

Many VoIP service providers will give you the option of selecting your own area code number. This is a tremendous benefit to family and friend members who can call you locally, if you select the same area code number.

How To Get the Most Out From Your VoIP Provider?

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Features and pricing are the two prime considerations in selecting your VoIP provider and deriving the maximum benefit from the product. With most VoIP users, all the features available in a particular product will rarely if ever be used. All leading service providers promise a range of features that look impressive as a marketing strategy, but often do not deliver as practical options. "Features" do not always translate as "benefits." Pricing is also a relative factor and is linked to "quality" in the long run. Let us look closely at the packages offered by three market leaders of today: Skype, Lingo, and Vonage.

Skype has three basic usages: a PC-to-PC call, which is free voice communication between two computer users across the world with an Internet broadband connection; a paid SkypeOut voice call from a Skype user to a landline/mobile phone; and a paid SkypeIn call from a landline/mobile phone to a Skype user. For a home requirement of chatting with family and friends, the Skype PC-to-PC free call delivers on most promises made on the official Skype website, including voice quality. If you are not against being "wired" to your computer with your multimedia speakers and headphone, this free offer is the best option in this category.

However, if your requirement is for a full-scale voice service that caters to PC-to-telephone and telephone-to-PC services, you need to step up to the paid categories. SkypeOut offers a flat global rate of € 0.017 per minute for some of the most popular destinations worldwide, and has specific rates for other destinations. SkypeIn, which is still in Beta, makes it possible for your family, friends, and business acquaintances to reach you from a landline by dialing a number assigned to you. SkypeIn charges are independent of your location; if you are assigned a Chicago number but are currently in Japan, the party making the call only pays for a call to Chicago. If you buy a Skype number--an annual subscription will cost you € 30 and a quarterly subscription comes at € 10--you also get Free Skype Voicemail bundled in the package.

Skype's cost plans are uncomplicated, and making a choice is relatively simple. Compare this with Lingo's Home, Office, and International plans, and the corresponding plans from Vonage.

From this analysis, Lingo emerges as the service that will save you more on your telephone bill. However, to get more out of your VoIP, you need to look at the international pricing because that's where VoIP scores over a traditional connection. If you make frequent international calls to Asia, you can take advantage of Lingo's Asia package. Lingo's international rates to individual countries are also lower than those of Vonage, but higher than Skype. Here is a comparison of the rates for three destinations.

Skype has the lowest call rates, but is limited in features. At the other end of the spectrum is Vonage, which offers the most consistent call quality and delivers on features, but is heavier on your pocket. Although it loses out on voice quality, Lingo has the features to match Vonage.

There are a few other features mentioned by both Lingo and Vonage--such as Anonymous Call Rejection and Do Not Disturb in Lingo, and Click-2-Call and Call Hunt in Vonage--but these are more in the way of cosmetic embellishments than utility tools.

The features are many, the utility diverse. To get the most out of your VoIP provider, you need to place the key factors of pricing and features at both ends of a see-saw, and weigh them with the cornerstone of quality--that will position you enticingly in making the right choice and getting the maximum out of your service provider.
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VoIP Devices 101

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Making long distance phone calls usually means that you have to commit to a long distance carrier through your phone company, and pay often steep per-minute charges and fees just to call a friend or loved one. Often, the cost of the phone call depends on the day and time of the day that you are making it, as well as the location you are calling to. The minutes you talk add up quickly, and the monthly long distance bill can be a shock to your system and your bank account. Fortunately, there is an exciting technology that is gives you the option of saying goodbye to traditional long distance for good.

It is VOIP is or Voice Over Internet Protocol, and it's in the process of changing the face of long-distance telephone systems forever. VOIP works by taking analog audio systems and converting them into digital data, which can be sent over the Internet. This means that your kitchen telephone could possibly become obsolete. It will not be the only place to call friends and family that live far away. VOIP can make your Internet connection, and your home computer, the place that you make your long-distance phone calls - free of charge. Because you use VOIP devices and software that are widely available, the phone company is not involved. No phone company means that there are no hefty long-distance charges for you to pay. VOIP is a convenient and affordable way to keep in touch with those who live far away from you.

There are several types of VOIP devices available that can be used to place calls from your home computer. They are relatively simple to use, and often cost very little, if anything at all, to implement. They are all commonly in use, and each provides a slightly different take on this exciting technology. The most common device used in VOIP service currently is the ATA, or Analog Telephone Adapter. This VOIP device allows you to hook your typical telephone up to your home computer Internet connection. This device converts the analog audio signal from the phone and makes it possible to use over the Internet by converting it to transmittable digital data. The ATA is simple for anyone to use. Just plug the cord from your home phone that would usually go into the wall jack into the ATA, and it is set up for you to call anyone anywhere in the world.

Another type of VOIP device is the IP, or Internet Protocol, phone. An IP phone looks like a regular home telephone, complete with a handset and buttons for dialing. But, rather than having standard phone connectors (RJ-11), an IP phone is equipped with an Ethernet connection (RJ-45). This VOIP device connects to your computer's router, and allows you to make phone calls directly from your home computer, dialing it just like a typical home telephone.

Yet another type of VOIP device is known as computer-to-computer. With this method, long-distance phone calls are made free of charge. All you pay is the monthly ISP fee you are already paying. Many companies offer free or low-price software that you install on your computer. If your computer is equipped with a microphone, PC speakers, and a sound card in addition to your Internet connection, then you will quickly be set up to talk to anyone in the world using VOIP. This is an extremely easy and affordable type of VOIP device that allows you to keep in touch with those far away from you.

As you can see, not only will VOIP change the way you make phone calls forever, but it will save you money as well. Utilizing equipment that the vast majority of us already have in our homes today, VOIP technology provides consumers with easy and affordable options in long distance phone service. With the exception of your current ISP's monthly charges, there is little to no expense at all. And since there are several options of VOIP devices from which you can choose, there is no reason not to consider VOIP as your primary means of making long distance phone calls to far away friends and family.
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Why Some VoIP Service are Free and Other are Not?

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Though not a new technology, VOIP, or Voice Over Internet Protocol, has recently begun gaining ground on the traditional long distance telephone industry. Simply put, VOIP is the ability for a person to talk on the telephone over an Internet connection. Using a variety of types of equipment to switch analog sound bits into digital data packets, VOIP has made placing long distance phone calls more efficient, more convenient, and much less expensive. Because there is no phone company or long distance provider involved, there are no monthly fees, long distance toll charges, or other charges associated with a traditional telephone bill. There are many VOIP service providers out there, and more cropping up on a regular basis. That means there is a demand for these providers to offer even lower cost services than they already do. In an effort to increase customers, some providers are now offering what they call "free" VOIP services. It is important to be aware that this type of service is not truly free.

A primary problem with so-called free VOIP services is the limitations that are often placed on the service subscriber. Many "free" providers limit the people you can call to only just users of the service you are yourself subscribing to. Sometimes you can call members of other "free" VOIP services. Because the commercial VOIP service providers, such as Vonage, connect to a traditional phone network, paying subscribers can call anyone with a telephone, whether it is connected to the Internet or not. As a subscriber to a "free" service, you can't place calls into the public telephone network, and those on a public network can't call you. This restriction negates the potential convenience that VOIP offers.

There are some "free" VOIP service providers that now offer customers the opportunity to call anyone, whether members of the service or not. This, of course, comes at a price. Service providers can offer this possibility to their customers at arguably lower rates than conventional long-distance providers, both domestically and Internationally, covering most of the globe. Though this is still cheaper (and probably a lot more convenient) than traditional long distance phone service, it is not free, and should not be advertised as such.

Subscribing to any of the free VOIP services are not truly free of cost. Chances are if you are interested in VOIP, you already have a home computer equipped with a soundcard and speakers. But if you want to subscribe to a VOIP service, you are required to have a broadband Internet connection, as dial-up just won't cut it anymore. Though prices for broadband Internet have come down, it is still a little more costly than dial-up, averaging $30-$40 per month. In addition, you will probably have to invest in a microphone that is specially equipped with an analog-to-digital converter and a USB connector. This will allow you to talk through your home computer when you place calls. Or, you can purchase an IP phone or headset that plugs directly into your home computer. This allows you to talk into a handset or headset, and have a dialing mechanism, much like a traditional telephone. Many IP phones come with a number of added features. Though these are one-time start-up purchases, it is important to note that service providers claiming to offer totally free VOIP services can't really fulfill their claims.

VOIP isn't too good to be true. It has the potential to forever alter the course of telephone communications. It is flexible (you can travel with your phone and phone number around the world), it is more than reasonably priced for the services you receive (services often include Call Waiting and Caller ID as part of standard service - features you pay extra monthly charges for with a traditional phone company), and it is convenient (you can check your voice mail from your email account, the voice reception is often clearer, and you don't get dropped calls like you do with a mobile phone). But, as with many other products and services, you get what you pay for.

So, beware of "free" VOIP services. They are not always free, and if they are, they are most likely very limited in what they can offer their customers.
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VoIP - Pros and Cons

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You have a telephone, right? You have a computer, right? You want to save money, right? BAM, you are a VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) candidate.

It is inevitable that VOIP will replace traditional telephone service at some point. The only question is when should you jump in?

VOIP is quickly becoming more reliable and receiving wider acceptance. In fact, phone companies are already taking advantage of the technology to provide cheaper long distance rates. Like any emerging technology, however, there are kinks in the system that are still being worked out.


VOIP has many advantages over regular phone service. One primary advantage is its low cost. If you have a fast Internet connection (DSL or cable), you can make PC-to-PC phone calls anywhere in the world FREE. PC-to-phone connections usually have a charge, but probably still cheaper than regular phone service.

You can sign up with a VOIP service provider for a monthly fee and get unlimited calls within a specified geographic area. For example, some VOIP services in the United States allow connections anywhere in North America for no extra charge. International calls are charged at a modest rate.

Another advantage is its portability. You can make and receive phone calls wherever there is a broadband connection by simply signing in to your VOIP account. This makes VOIP as convenient as e-mail. When you're traveling, you simply pack a headset or Internet phone; then you can talk to family or colleagues for next to nothing.

Phone-to-phone VOIP is also portable. Internet phones are small and light enough to take anywhere. When you sign up with a VOIP service provider, the Internet phone or adaptor used by that service is assigned a unique number. This 'phone number' remains valid, even if your VOIP service is in Los Angeles and you're connected to the Internet in London. When plugged into a broadband connection, anywhere in the world, you can make and receive calls as though you were at home .

Features like call forwarding, call waiting, voicemail, caller ID and 3way-calling, are included with Internet telephone at no extra charge. While you're talking on the phone, you can send pictures and documents at the same time.


There are a few glitches that still interfere with the technology's broad acceptance by the public. Lack of continuous service during power outages and emergency calling are the two biggest hurdles.

Conventional phone service continues by the current supplied through the phone lineduring a blackout. This isn't possible with Internet phones. When the power goes, there goes VOIP service. Battery backups and power generators that provide electricity are the current solutions to this problem.

A major concern involves emergency 911 calls. For the most part, VOIP services aren't useful in emergencies. Traditional phone equipment can trace the locations of calls. Emergency calls are diverted to the nearest call center where the operator can identify your location, in the event you can't talk. With VOIP, there is no way currently to determine where Internet calls are originating. There is an emerging standard called e911 however, which is attempting to solve this limitation.

VOIP also has sound quality and reliability problems. Data sent across the Internet usually arrives at its destination scrambled. E-mail and documents can be reassembled in the correct order when it arrives. Voice data also arrives scrambled, but it's more complicated because of the real-time nature of VOIP. Some data packets may have to be dropped when they don't arrive in time, in order to make voice connections with the least delay. This can cause brief silences in the audio stream.

Distance and speed of the connection determine the amount of data lost. Some networks receive more traffic and thus are more likely to cause audio dropouts. One way to provide high quality audio connections is to create dedicated data paths.

With the incredible amount of work dedicated to VOIP, these disadvantages will no doubt be resolved withinin the next two years. It is expected that by then VOIP will have widespread consumer acceptance.
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Business VoIP System Basics

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To set up a business VoIP system, you need several components. A central device to manage the calls, the way a private branch exchange (PBX) or key system unit (KSU) does in traditional phone systems is one of them.

This can be a dedicated piece of hardware such as an IP PBX, a regular PBX that has been IP-enabled, or a server running specialized software. You will also need phones and a data network. In many cases, you may be able to use your existing digital phones and computer network, although you may need to upgrade some of your network hardware.

VoIP Benefit

The most prominent benefit of an IP PBX is for businesses with multiple locations. With the advantage of VoIP, all the offices on a LAN or WAN can get the profits of having a common office phone system. The profits are - extension dialing, seamless call transfers, and other features.

In addition to making it easier to communicate, this sharing of features can enhance collaboration as employees at different locations can truly feel like they are part of the same organization. Plus, if they are on the company network, the phone calls are free - even if your offices are located thousands of miles apart. It is an advantage in saving money expended on calling between two branches of the same office.

VoIP Conversations

Computer networks are designed to handle messy data: packets arrive out of order and some are even lost, but in most cases the data being sent can easily be reconstructed when it is needed. Voice conversations, though, are not as tolerant of these kinds of disturbances. Each packet of sound has to arrive in the correct order because they are being sent in real time - if packets are lost; the conversation sounds distorted, choppy, or falls off all together. This is why VoIP services that rely on the Internet to transmit calls can have uneven phone quality.

The selection of a business VoIP solution is a major decision. Voice service is critical to the operation of the business, so no one wants to implement a technology that will compromise call quality or reliability in any way. On the other hand, the cost savings and value-added functionality available with VoIP makes it a compelling investment.


The VoIP phone system is beneficial for companies having multiple locations branches, telecommuters and remote sales offices. And the locations are connected with a company's Local Area Network (LAN) or Wide Area Network (WAN). In that case the companies are suitable for using a VoIP system.

You can share the full features of your phone system across all your locations. In addition, even if you have one office in one place and one in different place, VoIP allows calls between them via extension dialing, making it a zero cost call. For businesses with hefty monthly long distance charges due to calls between far off locations, is an attractive reason to upgrade.

VoIP Process

A VoIP phoning process requires a regular phone, an adapter, broadband Internet service, and a subscription to a VoIP service. When you place a call, it is sent over the Internet as data until it nears the recipient's destination.

Then the call is translated back into a more traditional format and completes the trip over standard phone lines. Also known as Internet telephony, this allows for extremely cheap long-distance and international calls.

VoIP Drawbacks

The main drawback of VoIP systems is the network requirements.
In VoIP telephony the greatest challenge is the bandwidth. It requires high bandwidth for clear messaging.
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VoIP: The Business Communication Advantage

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Companies should choose to unplug and switch to VoIP technology because there are many advantages for using VoIP. Here is an overview of five reasons that your business should make the switch to VoIP.

VoIP is perfect for Call Centers
VoIP is slowly becoming the standard choice for Call Centers. VoIP offers some major benefits for Call Centers such as flexibility, cost efficiency, and enhanced customer service applications. For instance, in the past, a Call Center needed to be a stabilized facility equipped with many phone lines used by people who would physically be located in the Call Center. By using VoIP for your Call Center, not only is your main location easily relocated as your business expands, but you can hire employees virtually world wide. Larger companies take advantage of VoIP Call Centers by outsourcing work overseas where they can hire employees for less.

The Integration of data, audio, and web based features is another reason why businesses are opting for VoIP. Customer service calls are handled more efficiently with the integration of these three components. Not only are calls transferred more proficiently, but also greater care can be given to customers when Call Centers use integrated software platforms.

More Call Centers are taking advantage of the opportunity to hire employees world wide through VoIP services. Employees may work in different time zones, giving greater customer service benefits year round, and hiring home based employees is another way businesses are choosing to save money.

VoIP is better for Mobile Employees
Many companies employ mobile workers. Mobile Employees have typically used cell phones at the company’s expense to stay in touch during the day. By utilizing VoIP Mobile Employees can remain virtually connected with the company, and the company saves money on fees.

When mobile employees rely on cell phones, many times a customer will call the main office, only to hear a message or be told the worker’s cell phone number. This requires the customer to hang up and call the employee on their cell phone- increasing the chance that the employee will lose the sale. By using VoIP, a call is instantly routed to the mobile employee and productivity increases.

Since VoIP integrates many other technologies, including E-mail, mobile employees are able to conduct many more transactions with one application.

VoIP Reduces Cost
Businesses today depend upon telecommunications. Whether it is Internet, E-mail, Customer Service through telephone, online web applications, and E-mail, or whatever your IT business needs may be, VoIP offers to handle all of your needs with one application. Additionally, this reduces cost and increases productivity. VoIP also has combined with software applications that are perfect for many business needs. Software such as accounting programs, Email, and PC based applications help to save money by combining services.

The reduction in long distance charges is another great advantage for switching to VoIP for business needs. By combining data, video, and audio needs, companies save on bandwidth usage, which ultimately leads to financial savings.

VoIP allows Real Time Global Conferencing
Global conferencing and training can put a burden on a business. Attempts to reach employees worldwide are not only expensive but time consuming as well. With VoIP technology businesses can avoid conferencing costs, and enable secure audio and videoconferences to offices worldwide. By reducing long distance costs, employees are also taking advantage of calling each other and corporate headquarters more frequently.

VoIP offers Flexibility that Ultimately Increases Productivity
VoIP allows greater flexibility. By using a standard VoIP Phone Adapter, you are able to take your telephone number with you. This allows greater productivity by allowing employees to conduct business overseas, while traveling, staying in hotels, etc. Your customers will be able to call you on your regular business phone number, and you won’t have to use your cell phone.

Many VoIP services are fully integrated with PC applications such as fax and email. There is greater productivity when employees can integrate their email and phone services with one application. Conduct business with VoIP on your laptop, any time day or night.

With the option to get VoIP phone numbers with area codes throughout the country, and some world wide, businesses can expand by choosing local area codes for the city, state, or country they are targeting.
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